Plastic Surgeon • Newport Beach • Los Angeles
Breast reconstruction is typically a very sensitive and emotional experience for patients undergoing the procedure. Patients choosing to undergo breast reconstruction with Dr. Bandy can have the peace of mind that the Dr. Bandy is not only a female surgeon who is sensitive to the emotional aspect of what the patient may be feeling, but is also an expert in reconstruction. Dr. Bandy is a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon; not only does she have expertise in aesthetic surgery, but Dr. Bandy is trained in all aspects of breast reconstruction such as inverted nipples, nipple reduction, breast asymmetry, breast reconstruction, and male breast reduction.
Before and After
Q: What is Breast Reconstruction?A: Many people equate breast reconstruction solely in the context of a woman who has had surgery for cancer and now that breast needs to be reconstructed. However, breast reconstruction can also be inclusive of women who have breast asymmetry, had an complication from a previous surgery to their breasts, have had an infection to their breast or a deflation to their implant. It also can include women who are born with a defect called Poland Syndrome where one breast does not develop normally.
Q: How long is the Breast Reconstruction surgery?A: Breast Reconstruction operating time varies. Depending on what type of surgery it is, it can be a very short or very long surgery. Breast Reconstruction surgery can be as short as an hour if it is simply somebody who has had a deflation to one of their implants and otherwise their breasts are normal, soft, and symmetric. On the other hand, if it is a patient who has or has had breast cancer and needs complete rebuilding of that breast, something called a TRAM flap (Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap) can take 6 to 8 hours.
Q: Who is Breast Reconstruction recommended for?A: Breast reconstruction is recommended for anyone who feels that their breasts do not have a normal or good shape.
Q: What type of Breast Reconstruction is popular?A: The type of breast reconstruction that is performed depends on what the type of issue is. Some women who have had mastectomy for breast cancer choose to have implants placed, and some women choose to have breast reconstruction with their own tissues. Thus, there are several types of surgeries that are popular for breast reconstruction.
Q: What is the recovery time and the healing process?A: The recovery time and healing time is going to vary according to the patient's health, age, and the type of procedure they are having. For something as simple as a breast implant exchange for a deflated implant, the recovery period is very quick and people are normally back to doing their normal activities (other than heavy lifting or use of their pectoralis muscles) within a week's time. However, for more extreme surgeries, such as the TRAM flap, that recovery is really prolonged and it can take up to a year before that patient really feels back to normal.
Q: What activity should I refrain from after Breast Reconstruction?A: During the immediate post-operative period, patients should refrain from any heavy lifting and any excessive use of the pectoralis muscles in exercise and related activities. Typically within six weeks of most surgeries, patients are back to doing everything that they were able to do prior to surgery.
Q: Are there any other procedures commonly performed along with Breast Reconstruction?A: For breast lift (mastopexy), it depends on what type of breast reconstruction is being performed and whether or not there is excess skin. For example, there are some women who have had breast cancer detected and they are going to have immediate breast reconstruction. If they have very large breasts to begin with, then they will have a portion of their skin removed for the mastopexy because their reconstructed breast will not be as large as what their natural breast was. Some patients may come in for what is called a Mommy Makeover in which liposuction, tummy tuck, Brazilian Butt Lift, and/or a labiaplasty are performed.
Q: Are there financing options for Breast Reconstruction?A: Depending on what the reasons are for having breast reconstruction, sometimes breast reconstruction surgery is covered by insurance or sometimes it is considered cosmetic, especially if the original surgery for the breast was a cosmetic procedure. Therefore, we would first look into seeing whether or not there is insurance coverage for the patient. If not, there are financing options available. Our office offers financing through the companies CareCredit, Alpheon, and Prosper
Q: What is the average cost for Breast Reconstruction?A: The range of cost for breast reconstruction surgery will depend on the procedure that is to be done. It can range from about $6,000 and up. A firm quote will be provided to you on the day of your consultation after you have been evaluated by Dr. Bandy and your goals for surgeyr have been discussed.
Q: How long before I see results of Breast Reconstruction?A: As with any surgery, the breasts will be swollen afterwards and there may or may not be bruising so it is difficult to see the final shape and size of the breast. Typically, by about 4 -6 weeks, you should have a very good idea of what the breast is going to look like.
Q: Is scarring expected after Breast Reconstruction?A: The degree of scarring depends on the type of procedure performed. This will be discussed at your consultation.
Q: How can I prepare for Breast Reconstruction?A: As for any surgery, a patients’ health and well-being is our main priority. We require that patients who are undergoing surgery be healthy with normal lab work (your labs will be performed within 2 weeks of surgery). Furthermore, Dr. Bandy provides patients with a vitamin protocol to being before surgery to aid in the recovery and healing process. During your consultation 2 weeks before surgery, our staff will thoroughly review with you all important information that needs to be completed prior to surgery in order to ensure the best outcome and easiest recovery possible.
Q: When is Breast Reconstruction typically performed?A: For breast cancer patients, breast reconstruction surgery can be immediate or delayed, depending on the circumstances. The plastic surgeon may be assisting the general surgeon with the mastectomy procedure, and the initial stage of breast reconstruction can be done when the mastectomy is done. When the breast is being removed by the general surgeon, the plastic surgeon can immediately come in and place a tissue expander so that as the tissues are healing, you can slowly start expanding that skin so that it stretches to accommodate the implants, if applicable. If the patient is not going to have implants but rather TRAM flaps, that is often done at the same time as the mastectomy as well.
Dr. Bandy would go over the patient's different options for breast reconstruction (with implants or patient's own tissue), whether they are a good candidate for doing it at the same time they are removing their breasts, or whether they should have a delayed reconstruction. Then, the general surgeon and Dr. Bandy will coordinate their times to perform procedures together at the hospital if applicable.
Q: Will anesthesia be administered for Breast Reconstruction?A: Yes, general anesthesia will be administered for breast reconstruction surgery. Depending on the procedure, it can be from 1 hour to 8 hours.
Q: Is Breast Reconstruction painful?A: Any surgery can be painful and pain will vary from patient to patient depending on the way their brain interprets pain, how healthy they are, and what procedure they are having. For breast reconstruction, there may be some pain and soreness after the surgery. As long as there are no adverse sequelae or complications, typically within a week to two weeks, the patients soreness should subside greatly. However, if they have complications such as infections or hematoma, pain might be prolonged and the patient might require additional surgery.
Typically, breast reconstruction for a breast cancer patient may have higher risk of complications and infection, because the cancer patient might have their immune system compromised and not be as healthy. The patient may or may not be undergoing chemotherapy and they are typically an older patient.